Entries in sex differences (25)
We recently posted an article about research findings that counter the notion that men and women differ in many meaningful psychological ways. Like most topics in the field, however, it's not always as simple as it first appears. Here's an insightful post by our colleague Dr. David Schmitt that offers a counterpoint to the information presented in that earlier post.
Are men and women really that different from one another? Despite what many believe, and what some alleged experts might tell you, women and men are more similar than they are different on most meaningful psychological dimensions. New research by Drs. Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis highlight these similarities well. Read more here and here.
What if you were sitting at a café, the park, or a beer garden (the latter being where you’re most likely to find me) and someone you’ve never met before approached you. Doesn’t seem too bad at this point, right? Now, what if this stranger then attempted to solicit casual sex from you? What would you say?
Now that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, you may be worried about picking out the perfect gift for your partner. Is it something he will like? Will she be disappointed by your efforts? And how is a partner’s response to your gift related to thoughts about the future of your relationship?
This seems like a straightforward question. Gifts reflect how well you know your partner and signify if you have similar tastes in things (and there’s lots of research showing that similarity predicts liking and attraction); if I pick something for you that you like, it is a signal that we are compatible. But as with most things in life, it’s not that simple…
True confession time: Before we (the authors of this article) got engaged, Charlotte already had a specific date and time reserved for the church where our wedding would be held.1 Although no ultimatum was ever given, it was pretty clear to Patrick that after living together for several years, it was time for him to think about marriage. Needless to say, the ring was bought, the wedding occurred on the given date at the nonnegotiable location, and we have been living happily ever after. Our story is hardly unique. Common wisdom suggests that young women can’t wait to walk down the aisle whereas young men grudgingly make the trek to the altar. Women may start planning their weddings long before their partners have a ring picked out, but perhaps women need to think more carefully about what they are getting into.
Recently, while procrastinating on Facebook, I stumbled across a post written by one of my good friends. She was raving about how her husband completed all of the tasks on her “honey-do” list. “I have the best husband ever!” she gushed. When I asked her about it later—specifically, why she was so ecstatic that he did some simple chores—she looked at me like I had fallen off the moon. “Duh,” she said. “It shows how much he loves me.” I couldn’t help but smile (you know, the kind of smile you give when you’re about to school someone), because my colleagues and I recently put this idea to the test. And what we found might surprise you.
“Hooking up” has become a catch-all phrase in our culture to describe casual romantic or sexual activity. Despite the pervasiveness of the phrase, however, no one (lay people or relationship scientists) has a solid, agreed-upon definition for exactly what it is. What specifically does “hooking up” entail? A recent review article sheds light on this question.
Most of us have experienced a gut-cringing moment in which we made an embarrassing comment or did something idiotic in front of a person we were trying to impress. Even smart guys are not immune to this; look at how The Big Bang Theory’s Leonard Hofstadter’s staggering IQ of 170+ plummets whenever he sees Penny. Unfortunately, guys, it looks like this cognitive decline in the presence of the opposite sex affects only those in the male population.
Although I have had a few dates with The Consultant, I don’t want to get too serious too quickly. In the meantime, there are still a number of guys showing interest in me on the internet dating site I have been using (which I will gladly name for a hefty fee). One guy in particular has been flirting with me quite voraciously. But he lives about an hour away, so it has not been easy to arrange a date. We recently were finally able to set something up.
A few days before the big event, he started sexting me. At first, it wasn’t totally obvious because flirtatious texting typically has sexual undertones like “I’m really looking forward to seeing you this weekend”; we had been doing a lot of that up to this point. His new approach, however, was different. His sexual references were now very explicit and his intentions became quite clear. Then, he texted a photo of himself wearing boxer briefs with a fully pitched trouser tent. Well, at least he had his underwear on. The text accompanying the picture read, “Here is a taste of the trouble you’re getting into on Friday!”
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. Dr. Tamara Afifi (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) talks about why women find (conflict) avoidance more dissatisfying than men. Check it out here.
What do you want in a husband or wife? Though not exactly Weird Science, in a classic survey researchers asked 200 newlyweds and over 100 undergraduates in heterosexual dating relationships what traits they prefer in a spouse.1 These ratings were obtained by presenting study participants with a series of 40 trait pairs such as “timid-bold,” “emotional-unemotional,” and “stupid-intelligent.” Participants then indicated which of the two adjectives they preferred in a spouse. In addition, researchers also asked participants about their own personality traits.
As if you needed one more reason to feel guilty for couch-surfing when you should be kick-boxing, a recent study on long-term relationships indicates that men in excellent or good health have better sex than their flabbier or sickly peers. The good news doesn’t stop there: healthier dudes are nearly twice as likely to report relationship happiness outside the bedroom as well.
Confused and Heartbroken asked the following:
I am a very straight 20 year old girl. I have only dated men until earlier this year. One of my very close friends last spring told me she was bi-sexual. We had become very close already and had developed a very strong friendship. After she came out to me I realized my feelings intensified and after admitting it to her we ended up in a very heated moment and kissed. Things were wonderful for about two weeks when she basically abandoned me and our friendship.
That was the last week of April and the first week of May of this year. We were apart for the summer with very limited communication and I ended up starting to date a very good friend of mine from my hometown. Things are going wonderfully with him but since I've come back to school and been around her I've been lonely and missing her more and more. We've talked and I've finally managed to get some answers to my questions but I'm still in love with her. I don't understand or know why I am attracted to her because I've never found myself attracted to women before and I certainly don't know why I'm still so attached.
Please help me. :(
Confused and Heartbroken
Dear Confused and Heartbroken,
A common rule of thumb, at least on the internet, is that it’s okay to be interested in someone “half your age plus seven” years. According to this rule, it would not be creepy for a 30 year old to date a 22 year-old, but an 18 year-old would be off-limits. Although this is a fun rule of thumb, what does research say about age preferences for potential mates?
Will sculpting your body to perfection help you to find a romantic partner? Perhaps, but it may not be as important as another part of your anatomy (no, not that part; get your mind out of the gutter!). A recent study suggests that both men and women actually pay more attention to faces than they do to bodies when looking for a long-term lover. When it comes to one-night stands, however, women still focus on the face, whereas men shift their priority to the body.
Have you heard the one about the relationship scientist who walks into a bar with a journal under one arm and a duck under the other? Never mind...it wasn’t very funny to begin with. If that's the only joke you know, will your lackluster sense of humor hurt you when it comes to attracting a romantic partner? It turns out that the use and importance of humor differs between men and women in attracting and selecting mates. So, did The Office get it right by having Jim play the office clown in order to attract Pam?
The recent scandal involving Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York (the guy who "accidentally" sent provocative photos of himself to attractive young females over Facebook and Twitter) has become a media sensation. This probably has something to do with the fact that this guy’s last name is, well, hilarious given the nature of the photos he was tweeting, but also because this guy seemed to have it all.
Men are more interested and likely to engage in casual sex than women, right? Not so fast...New research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that when great pleasure is expected, women are just as likely as men to say "YES" to casual sex.